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BBC unveils £8 million investment plan for World Service

The BBC World Service has pledged £8 million of new investment for digital and multiplatform news programming, in a bid to “keep ahead of the changing media environment” and reach younger audiences.

Announcing the move, BBC World Service director, Peter Horrocks said that while radio will remain the “bedrock” of its international output, World Service TV programmes and mobile sites will play “an increasingly important part.”

In a speech to staff, Horrocks announced World Service plans including an Africa edition of the BBC website and an increased focus on multiplatform, multi-lingual programming, with World Service formats like Witness being turned into TV programmes and translated into other languages.

He also said it plans to pilot Global Newsbeat, radio bulletins aimed at younger audiences, to “attract the next generation of World Service listeners” and said World Service would create around 140 new jobs in the coming year.

The news comes less than six weeks before the World Service comes under licence fee funding from the BBC. It was previously funded by grant-in-aid from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.